An update from DF

Caught up with Mark and Peggy last night over Skype. Recalled that Peggy said “You haven’t updated your blog (!)” Okay, here I am updating it now. It’s been weeks since I have last blogged. Point form then:

– Went to Chinatown yesterday. 2 blocks. Comprised mainly Chinese restaurants and shops selling Chinese trinkets, the shopkeepers were Mexicans though… Chanced upon one shop that sells Chinese / Asian foodstuff. Major rip off, like the Korean grocery store that I went to (more on this later). Walked off. Wandered around a bit. Found another Chinese foodstuff store. Still a major rip off though prices are cheaper by say US$0.50 or less? Couldn’t resist buying this bottle of Chilli with black beans from China, called “Lao3 gan1 ma1” – a product introduced by Peggy when we were in Vancouver Chinatown. Bought a small bottle of light soya sauce (the store actually sells dark soya sauce as well. very impressive) for US$3! Well, it’s made in Taiwan, maybe that’s why it’s more expensive (compared to stuff from China).

– I was walking on the streets in the historical center. There was this huge post office decked in its finery and painted in gold and this wonderful looking staircase (can’t locate the name of this type of staircase on google. basically, there’s 2 flight of stairs leading upwards from the left and right and the top of these 2 stairs meet in the center and ends up on a platform. there’s another flight of stairs leading straight up from that platform. Seen from a distance with a front view, the stairs look like an inverted “Y”. The “v” branch in the “Y” looks like a bridge.

– there was the Palacio de Belle Arte – palace of belle art… Anyhow, the palacio was flanked by this huge huge square and just north to the square, there’s a huge park. very well-taken care of. I passed by some big departmental stores. Buildings with familiar name inside – McDonald’s, Starbucks, some other American fast food joints. I feel… I have finally settled down and I like Mexico City.

– toilet paper. You can’t dump soiled toilet paper into the water closet, as in, you can’t flush them down the toilet bowls. At least when you are not staying/living in a decent hotel. In the 2 hostels that I have stayed in, soiled toilet paper goes into a bin that’s next to the WC. Oh man, in the first hostel, the toilet cubical kinda smells. The second one, not so much. The second hostel was interesting for its toilet paper. it’s not the usual sized, instead, it’s like kitchen napkins. Yes, it’s like using kitchen napkins of the rough sort of paper on your ass. Surprising, it’s super effective. Maybe it’s the thick texture that seals in the smell.

– how to wipe your ass in Mexico City 101:

First, tear a sizeable piece of toilet paper. use your judgment and discretion. “sizeable” really depends on the size of your butt, no? For me, in the second hostel, I torn like a letter size to start with each time.

Then, fold it (the paper) into half to increase its thickness. otherwise, your sometimes wet (actually, it’s definitely moist most of the time?) faeces will penetrate/soak through the skimpy piece of toilet paper and end up on your fingers… disgusting I know.

Then wipe your ass with it. For the first wipe, especially if you have a tummyache, dump it away. BUT, before you dump it, be sure to fold it into half and half (and half again). This step is to conceal the shit appearance wise and possibly to seal in the odor.

If it’s your second and after wipe, reuse the paper by folding it into half after each wipe. You will reach a stage where the soiled paper is too small to be folded and you risk touching your own shit with that tiny paper. In such cases, dump the paper and start with a fresh paper.

Okay, the above is my technique for maneuvering the toilets here. Others (especially the locals) might have a better or more sophiscated method.

– Couchsurfing and Okay, I met a few people from these websites. A quick run through. There’s Rulo whom I taught the accordion and in return, he patiently listened to my Spanish. He’s a very cool guy. Very chilled out and from Argentina. He lives in Roma Sur with his wife who works crazy and long hours (not as bad as auditors though). He works in the front office/desk with the Argentinean consulate and is a part-time clothes for pregnant women designer, a guitarist, a poet – well he has this blog with tons of spanish poetry and what else? I have no idea. Yesterday was our last lesson as he has to return the accordion to his friend. Pretty cool. we had beer and Lao Gan Ma (see above) with biscuits and xxxx. xxxx was very mild. didn’t feel anything. I guessed once your first time was White Russian. Anything else pales in comparison.

I spent my Christmas eve with a bunch of couchsurfers and the host’s friends (the host is a CSer as well). Jovana. Sensible and decent mexican woman. Interesting people included this couple from Argentina who works in Belgium, on the ski fields. They said money is excellent in Belgium. Strange. the husband has hair like Rulo (see above) – how do you describe them? Deadlocks which are undead? Or do you call them draglocks? hmmm. the wife is attractive. Both are youngish. IN their mid 20s. Then there was this pair of women who’s spending their Christmas and New Year’s vacation in DF (Distrito Federal, the spanish equivalent of Mex City). They were teaching English in Chiapas and in return, they were given free Spanish lessons. Not sure if they receive a wage in return too. One is a Scottish who spent 2 years in South Korea. She started off with teaching English and switched to being a news reporter for a English newspaper in South Korea. She stopped after 2 years. She also commented that the newspapers in SK were controlled propaganda of the conglomerates (not sure if she mentioned the government as well as the conversation was in spanish. no, perhaps not.). It’s more like a shopping brochure instead of a newspaper as there’s tons of advertisements in that paper. Anyhow, after completing her 5 month stint as an English teacher in Mexico, she’s returning to SK to get a Masters in International Relations. Possibly, her interest was piqued from her journalist stint.

Her friend, Jessica, is from  Louisiana, New Orleans. She was pretty quiet in the beginning (later she said that she freaked out at having to speak in spanish in front of the group). Later on, on one-to-one settings, I heard her speaking in Spanish. Anyhow, what about her? She loved San Francisco because of her few times there. But to bring up a family, she would stick to New Orleans where she was brought up and lived all her life. She wouldn’t want her kids to miss out on the mardi gras in New Orleans (since then, I have googled on it. apparently, mardi gras is HUGE in New Orleans). She described New Orleans as rather friendly and about 80% of the population are black.

There was this guy from Austria who’s in Mexico to study Spanish at UNAM. He speaks decent spanish. His voice and appearance reminded me of Owen from Bermuda… Anyhow, there was some others – this French guy who’s seems rather senior in age and this mexican guy (who’s in public administration and he’s bored by his job. Oh yes, I read his palms out of fun. he’s born with an inheritance, he’s going to be rich, hmmm, I can’t remember much else but he did say that almost everything that I said is/was true. I also read the Scottish girl’s palms too. One thing that I remembered particularly was that she appeared to be sensitive to others but deep down, she’s not really. in other words, she appears to be empathic but is not. you get what I mean?). Anyhow, the above mentioned people formed the initial group at the xmas dinner. The conversations were all in spanish and at one point, the french man started these conversations about politics. and oh boy was I lost. A group of mexicans subsequently arrived. And no, I didn’t really talk to them. I wasn’t going to practise more spanish! Yeah, I went to that dinner with the hopes of happily chatting in english but reality turned out otherwise. End of the world party. Meet Steve. From UK and studied his masters in Amsterdam. Born in 83 (year of the boar) and a virgo I think. Can click. Cool!

Okay, that’s all for now!


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